Lights in the Dark

Flavia PotenzaBy Flavia Potenza

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Lights in the Dark
Hot on the heels of Thanksgiving, the Canyon Sages presented their Holiday Senior Dinner on Sunday, Dec. 3, but we saw no one complaining as they heaped their plates high with appetizers and a full turkey dinner with all the fixin’s. Some even came back for seconds and leftovers to take home. Even though more attended than was expected, Karen Dannenbaum saw that the meal ran without a hitch, as did many, many volunteers. It takes a village to run a senior dinner, replete with entertainment where the ubiquitous AV volunteer Tom Mitchell kept the sound equipment in “check, check, check....” Attentive teens earning community service points happily performed their tasks, serving water and lemonade, cleari
The Canyon Chronicle pages have been full of children of late. What a rich education they receive at Topanga Elementary Charter School (TECS). Its parents, teachers and kids have gone the extra miles through the Topanga Enrichment Programs (TEP), the school’s booster club that raises funds for resources and staff LAUSD doesn’t pay for. TEP’s president for this 2023-2024 school year, Pete Samson, through the “Schoolhouse Scoop” column, has kept us apprised of the great strides they’ve achieved. (Page 4) In a previous issue (The Canyon Chronicle, Dec. 8, Vol. 4, No. 24), TECS Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten teacher Amy Weisberg described her task of developing and facilitating the Cultural Arts Passport (CAP) program, a state education funding arm, that provided teachers with a budget to purchase classroom supplies for art projects and performances and to purchase new sound equipment for the auditorium. We are very proud of the many opportunities given to the students of “Topanga El.” Sherry Jason is also broadening not only our littlest ones’ experience through Ballet for Topanga, but received a nice surprise once she was able to reopen the school following the COVID pandemic. (Page 5) Our end-of-year edition has holiday safety tips for dogs courtesy of our local veterinarian, Holly Scoren; an enlightening reveal from Dark Sky International about a rescue of endangered fireflies in Taipei where their heroes convinced a city to shut down the city park lights during breeding season (Page 6); the selection of Rabbi Mendy Piekarski of Chabad of Topanga who will be featured in the 77th edition of “Who’s Who in America;” as well as “Finding Light in Challenging Times” for his “Soul & Coffee” column. (Page 7) Our center spread (Pages 8-9) responds to Fred Samia’s recent Opinion piece (The Canyon Chronicle, “Israel’s Onslaught: To What End?” November 24, 2023, Vol. 4, No. 23) with a historical view of Hamas and the complexities of the current war. On to lighter fare, so to speak, with Sarah Spitz’s coverage of Food Forward, where she asks: “If I told you there’s a highly effective, efficient and sustainable non-profit organization that leverages 24 times social impact returns on every dollar donated, better than most stock market investments achieve, would you believe me?” Joel Bellman rings in the New Year by digging into his immense music collection and, since he’s not feeling it this year, brings out the Christmas Blues songs, “because Christmas blues are a real thing.” (Page 11) Paula LaBrot follows with “observations on William Wordsworth’s “disappointment with materialism… It seems December brings a yearning and longing for peace and brotherhood more than any other month on the calendar,” and ends on a note of hope, as we all must. (Page 12) Finally, Sr. Reporter Annemarie Donkin and I received an invitation to check out a new restaurant, North Italia, in the Westfield Mall, where you might want to ring in 2024. For now, The Canyon Chronicle and crew are taking a well-earned break until our next issue comes out on January 19, 2024. Thank you to our writers and photographers (of course) for their professional contributions, our advertisers and donors, and also, the many contributions of the community’s words and pictures that make us the community voice we are. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
Flavia Potenza

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